My love for posters, like many of my degenerate tendencies, started in college. Every bookstore and headshop sold them – cheap – and what a way to cover up a blank boring wall. Each was a form of self expression, as you could announce your musical likes, political tendencies, sexual attractions, or just general coolness, to you guests. They were portable, easily going from dorm room to apartment, exacting perhaps their greatest cost from the landlord who didn’t like the marks the tape left on the wall. You never stopped acquiring them, sometimes because they were free for the taking from some public display. But somehow they went into hibernation. I don’t recall putting up a poster in my high rise rent-subsidized apartment in med school, and surely didn’t have any in my cool penthouse bachelor pad in St. Louis. Yet, I never stopped acquiring them. Likewise my missus. I haven’t quizzed her on her poster display habits at little College of Wooster, but I know there was seldom a poster she didn’t like that she didn’t acquire. The avalanche came when she went to work as NASA’s chief scientist on loan from U of M at the turn of the century. Space lends itself to some pretty cool posters, and I think she acquired them all. Me, I was more selective, kyping concert posters in college, the various medical stuff that dribbled in, and actively seeking some things with a Michigan theme.
We sorta knew we had all this stuff, some of it very cool, but it sat in cardboard tubes in our lower level storage room. A somewhat unrelated retirement project kicked this off the schneid. I envisioned a “wall of memories” in the hall from our living room to master bedroom which would bear all our various certificates. With 6 advanced degrees between us, there’s a lot of paper, plus all that stuff they issue you when you’re a doc and can prove you haven’t killed anybody. Somehow, that got us interested in all those damned posters. Up came all those cardboard rolls and we committed ourselves to reviewing and measuring (for possible framing). It was a wonderful trip down memory lane. Some of those posters went up almost immediately, like the one for Commander Cody’s 4/17/71 concert at Hill, first time I ever saw them. Now, our house is already plastered with a bunch of Kathy’s space posters, like the one of the moonrise signed by all the Apollo astronauts who walked on the moon and a few more. Our house is like a space museum and you should come visit. But now we have 170 posters looking for a good home. We have a downstairs, but the walls there scream space, like Kathy’s signed picture of Neil Armstrong. My job over the next several days is to scan our wall space and look for openings. Our guest bathroom filled up quickly once we assessed our stock. No one’s going to be bored there again.
I felt compelled to compile stats. All those measurements made it possible to calculate the total square surface occupied by our posters: 66,215.7 square inches. That comes to 459.8 square feet. That’s less that 1/7 of the floor surface of our 3500 square foot house, and barely 1/10th of a standard basketball court (4520 square feet). I haven’t calculated the bare surface of our remaining walls but I expect there’ll be some mighty competition as to what goes up. I’m hoping for rotation and variety. Regardless, it should compel you to come to Harbal to see my view. It’s not just the one off the back deck.